It's not often I'll say this, but good on Dennis Coderre. The Liberal defence critic is going to Afghanistan to see the situation for himself, even if the Conservative government seems to very much not want him to go:
The Montreal-area MP says he's made multiple requests with Defence Minister Peter MacKay's office but that they were systematically ignored or rejected. He said he first asked to go when Gordon O'Connor was defence minister but sometimes didn't get his calls returned.You know, I'm not surprised at all about the hypocrisy of the Conservatives and their blogging army, who attack Liberals on the one hand for not visiting Afghanistan for themselves to see what's going on first hand, while at the same time they set up roadblocks to stop Liberals from going through official channels.
If this sounds at all familiar, it should. You'll recall the Cons also refused to let the Governor-General go visit the troops. Twice. Photo-ops by the PM and his minister though? No problemo, come on over.
So, good on Coderre for taking matters into his own hand and booking his own trip:
While visiting dignitaries generally use transportation supplied by the Department of National Defence, Mr. Coderre has made his own travel arrangements to Afghanistan and within the country.
He does not yet have permission from the Canadian government to visit the international base in Kandahar but says he's confident that he will be allowed to meet with the troops.
Will Harper and McKay deny the official opposition's defence critic the opportunity to meet with Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan? That will be very interesting to see. Hopefully, the Cons will rise above political partisanship for once. After all, Coderre is only following their advice, and going to see the situation for himself.
And Denis, I think you should go one step further. Bring Stephane Dion along. I think he should see the situation for himself as well, and then report back to Parliament. Maybe you guys can get a companion fare or something, and a double occupancy rate at the Kabul Hilton.
Coderre going is good; Dion going would be better. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers